Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Archbishop Burke's role in Summorum Pontificum?

By Brian Kopp

Forest Murmurs blog has a post today about Archbishop Burke's role in Summorum Pontificum:

Motu Murmurs

"I have heard some eminent canonists express the opinion that Summorum Pontificum is lacking in its understanding of canon law. Now it is revealed that Archbishop Burke was one of the people who worked on it and a more eminent canonist it would be hard to find...the good archbishop`s recent ordination of priests for the Institute of Christ the King and suggests that he might be in the running to take over the Ecclesia Dei commission..."

Maybe our good Pope Benedict XVI needs Archbishop Burke as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, at least in part, to enforce Summorum Pontificum, and defend individual priests who attempt to comply with the upcoming PCED clarification of Summorum Pontificum, but are censured for doing so by their local bishop. If priests knew they had a friend at the top of the canonical court system, they might be more likely to ignore the "little tittle rules" set up by their local ordinary to undermine Summorum Pontificum.

Could Archbishop Burke serve simultaneously as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura as well as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, thus giving the anticipated clarification some real canonical teeth? That is a truly hopeful prospect!


Chironomo said...

There were probably many reasons that His Emminence was promoted to the AS, and certainly a role in implementing SP has something to do with it. The criticisms of SP in terms of Canon Law have all been related to the issues of the Bishop's jurisdiction and the conflicts created by the presence of two forms of one rite. SP defines the jurisdiction, thus defining the law, not conflicting with it. The Pope can do that. The other issues require further law to be created, which is obviously coming. The criticisms are merely attempted blocks, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Happy to hear that "eminent canonists" doubt the validity of the Motu Proprio. Burke is very ideologically driven and that may have overridden his canonical common sense.

Chironomo said...


The only canonist I have heard named is Abp. Burke... the other canonists seem to be not only eminent, but also anonymous as well...
In such a discussion, it is also important to recall that the Holy See has the absolute ability to regulate the liturgy, and may also change canon law. The idea that a proclamation from the Holy See is "in conflict" with canon law seems rather laughable. Not that it is a perfect analogy, but it is something like complaining that a "Proclamation from The King" violates the law when it is the King that makes the laws. Has it occured to these eminent canonists that the Pope has changed the rules of the game?

Michael said...

Canon lawyers who take the Pope to task for Summorum Pontificum are missing the point about canon law. I have the same feeling towards canon lawyers as I do towards other lawyers. They are a necessary evil and someday when they actually learn something they'll get real jobs.

Seriously, legalistic interpretations of canon law serve only to place canon law above the higher, Divine laws that are the basis for canon law. And legalistic canon lawyers serve only to diminish their own importance.

To me the important laws behind S.P. are the moral laws upon which it is based, mostly around the concept of justice. To wit, all baptized Christians enjoy a covenentual relationship with God, part of which covenant includes participation in the immemorial Sacrifice of Christ, articulated absolutely and really in the Mass. Part of that covenant includes the obligation on the part of those entrusted with the Liturgy to maintain an organic purity in the Liturgy; and the obligation to observe the legitimate anthropolical needs of a human being to interact with liturgical ritual that has continuity with the past and that facilitates the disposition to surrender to the Liturgy rather than direct it.

That is the crux of Pope Benedict XVI's theology on the subject from what I've been able to gather from his writings. He seems to be the among the few who really considers those aspects as important.

Tom said...

I am all for the latin traditional mass. The only false opposition to the SP is collegiality between the pope and the bishops. Collegiality is just a matter of convenience, and has no documentary definition, except perhaps in academic textbooks. Watch for a bishop to invoke this in their "little tittle" rules against the SP.